Cablegate: Ici: Baghdad Donor Meeting

DE RUEHGB #0678/01 0671122
P 071122Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

B. BAGHDAD CLASS OI 03/03/2008

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: UNAMI convened an informal donor meeting
March 4 to: a) update Baghdad-resident donor reps on GOI
preparation for the ICI first anniversary, b) brief on the
January 23 IRFFI meeting in Naples, and c) brief a visiting
EC delegation on a and b. UNAMI Deputy Guy Siri and World
Bank Country Manager Simon Stolp chaired the meeting.
Delegations from the EC mission, UK's DFID, the Italian,
Japanese, Australian, German and U.S. embassies attended.
Stolp noted that the GOI has not convened all of the
necessary ICI Thematic Working Groups to prepare the annual
report, as instructed by DPM Barham Salih in a January 15
memo. Siri proposed that donors consider loosening the
timeline for the annual report and delaying the first
anniversary event from April to May or June. Siri noted that
the UN was considering alternative sites for the anniversary
event -- including Stockholm and perhaps Madrid. He said
that DPM Salih would be discussing this with SRSG Gambari.

2,. (SBU) SUMMARY CONTINUED. The EC representatives
expressed their strong skepticism at the level of GOI buy-in
to the ICI. The UN's Siri urged that while acknowledging
shortcomings, donors should realize the ICI in its first year
has advanced considerably. Siri and donors agreed that we
want to encourage the GOI to support the ICI, but that we
need to avoid taking over the process or "overwhelming" the
GOI with assistance to stand up the ICI Secretariat. Siri
presented a summary paper from the Naples IRFFI meeting which
detailed seven proposed donor actions to support the ICI. He
also provided a set of proposed "advocacy points" on the ICI
(para 11) which he invited donors to deploy in their
discussions with GOI. One point left out of the advocacy
paper but which he asked donors to consider was the need for
the GOI to fund the ICI Secretariat with a line item in the
national budget. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) UNAMI and the World Bank convened donors March 3
for an informal meeting to go over status of GOI and donor
preparations for the first anniversary of the International
Compact with Iraq (ICI) and brief a visiting EC delegation.
UNAMI Deputy Guy Siri and World Bank Country Representative
Simon Stolp presided; Embassy representatives from Italy,
Germany, Australia, Japan and the U.S. together with
representatives from DFID and the local EC office represented
Baghdad-resident donors.

4. (SBU) Siri opened by commenting on the timing and venue
of a ministerial event to mark the first year of the ICI.
Noting that the GOI prefers that the event take place on
April 22 in Kuwait in association with the expanded
((Neighbors)) meeting, Siri said that UN staff is still in
consultations with European countries and is considering
Stockholm or possibly Madrid. He said that DPM Barham Salih
will discuss venue with SRSG Gambari soon. Siri noted that
it will be difficult for the UN and GOI to conclude
preparations for a meeting by mid-April -- as the GOI's
drafting of the annual report on progress against ICI
benchmarks is not as advanced as was hoped. He proposed that
donors "reconsider the timeframe and content of the report."
(Note: The GOI's first progress report, issued in July, 2007
was a comprehensive look at GOI performance against ICI
benchmarks, but was almost wholly produced by local World
Bank staff).

5. (SBU) Siri said that some progress has been made -- the
ICI Secretariat has grown to seven staff who split their time
between ICI work and other GOI jobs, and the EC has deployed
the first of its 4-5 planned technical advisors, but would
wait to deploy the rest until the GOI has fully staffed the
ICI Secretariat including the Policy Planning Unit. While
the DPM had asked for UNAMI support the Iraqi government
Thematic Working Groups (TWGs), UNAMI will not staff them, as
it does not want international staff to be doing what Iraqi
staff should be doing. Italian Embassy rep Nicola Bazzani
reminded donors that Italy on a bilateral basis had provided
since June of 2007 a technical advisor to the ICI Secretariat.

6. (SBU) Stolp briefed on the functioning of the GOI's
TWGs. DPM Salih had sent detailed instructions to line
ministries in a January 15 memo, complete with draft forms to
be filled out to prepare for drafting the ICI annual report.
Stolp said some TWGs had met and, while other TWGs had not
met formally, there had nevertheless been inter-ministerial
meetings to discuss ICI benchmarks. When asked whether those
meetings had resulted in any progress toward drafting the
GOI's annual report, he said no -- but he and his staff would
help complete those portions. (Note: missing are the draft
assessments of progress againt economic reform and resource

BAGHDAD 00000678 002 OF 003

management benchmarks, both TWGs chaired by Ministry of
Finance. Per ref b, we previously asked to urge the MinFin
to convene these TWGs. End note.)

7. (SBU) The head of the visiting EC delegation, RELEX
Director Tomas Dupla de Morel, expressed his strong
skepticism that the GOI had demonstrated its "buy in" to the
ICI and wondered if we were focusing too narrowly on the
annual report instead of pressing the GOI on the broader
issue of supporting the ICI process. The Australian Embassy
rep questioned whether placing the ICI Secretariat in DPM
Salih's office was hobbling its ability to build capacity -
especially as it still hasn't gotten a separate budget.

8. (SBU) Stolp agreed that donors should press DPM Salih
and others in the GOI to step up their support for the ICI.
The EC rep opined that the GOI's support for the ICI appears
to be "just a show" for the international community, and
there is no understanding or support for it among GOI
bureaucrats. Stolp and Siri insisted the there is high level
support for the ICI in the GOI, but agreed that this
"ownership" needs to be shifted to lower levels. In that
regard, Siri produced a paper of "advocacy points" on the ICI
for donors to use in their contacts with the GOI (Note: see
text at para 5). Siri said he supported pressing the GOI for
a budget line item for the ICI Secretariat, but that he had
left it off the paper, commenting that Salih had told him
that he preferred not to get into a budget fight just now.

9. (SBU) There ensued some discussion of whether the DPM's
office was the best place for the Secretariat to reside, and
whether the PM's Office or COMSEC might not offer a more
securely supported roost. The COMSEC option looked favorable
as it already contained a policy planning unit that the UK's
DFID was supporting with technical assistance. The EC-funded
technical advisor to the ICI Secretariat is drafting an
"institutional map" in order to propose a formal linkage
between the Secretariat and the PM's Office. Discussants
agreed however that donors are limited to advocating for the
ICI with the GOI, but the GOI itself must make such
operational decisions.

10. (U) Turning to a readout of the January 23 Naples IRFFI
meeting, Siri reviewed the seven proposed donor actions (ref
A), most of which focus on supporting the capacity of the ICI
Secretariat (e.g DVC equipment, translation booths, funding).

Siri was not supportive of UN funding for the Secretariat
but he believed that the other elements of the paper were
good. Stolp intends to set up a working group to coordinate
and expand existing DVC capacity. Siri and Stolp both
committed to conducting monthly informal donor meetings in

11. (U) UNAMI's proposed advocacy points:

Begin Text.


The directions outlined in the ICI have been decided by the
Iraq Government and belong to Iraq.

While the ICI is supported by the international community,
the benefits are first and foremost for the Iraqi people.

Likewise, renegotiation of external debt benefits Iraq's
economy and people. Although debt forgiveness is not
necessarily conditioned upon the Government's political,
security and economic achievements, there is an implied

The Government of Iraq must therefore show progress against
the achievement of the ICI benchmarks that the international
community has pledged to support. The international
community encourages the Government to make further efforts
to ensure that its activities and achievements are
consistently and clearly communicated.

The international community appreciates that the
establishment of a strong Compact Secretariat, and strong
implementation and donor coordination mechanisms, will take
some time. However, development partners emphasize that the
Government assign similar priority to the implementation of
the ICI, and therefore the structures that support this, as
it assigns to the achievement of debt relief. The
achievement of Compact benchmarks is of commensurate

The Compact Secretariat should seek to establish broader

BAGHDAD 00000678 003 OF 003

cross-government linkages. In order to support the
Government in achieving ICI benchmarks, the Compact's
Secretariat will need to liaise widely among Ministries and

draw upon the analytical and political resources vested in
other bodies of Government. These include, but are not
limited to, the Council of Ministers Secretariat (COMSEC),
and the Prime Minister's Office.

Development partners encourage the Government of Iraq to
strengthen inter-ministerial coordination and cooperation in
its implementation of the Compact.


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